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Extended Enterprise Collaboration

Many talks and discussions have been  around the industry stressing the  necessity for collaboration and Agile thinking for the past 10 years or so. Since most of the vendors are focusing on building enterprise and extended enterprise relationships along the supply chain, Collaboration is the key parameter not only in  building quality and valuable solutions but also most importantly providing secure products, solutions and environments all around.

Some thoughts and signs of collaboration could be:

  • Open minded ideas sharing culture encouraging employee, vendor and customer participation. Some of the key parameters that builds trust would be innovative solutions, security and service level managements.
  • Allocating some effort on innovation and people development every month
  • Having Academia participate in some R & D effort in selected projects.
  • Some times, need to ignore and discount the impediments of growth and simply start working around the ideas by piloting them.
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When fix is painful than defect (Medicine pains more than illness) – Get to theory- 3.4 couplet

When fix is painful than defect (Medicine pains more than illness)

Get to Theory

~3.4 couplet

A small half cup (like that of cough syrup bottle) will contain 1 KG of water vis-a-vis around 74 mL of water. This is the practical way of informing the density concept to children, instead defining in formal physical terms like ratio of unit mass to unit volume expresses in kg/cu.m etc.

However as the child grows perception of density becomes a concept and understand the definition formally. When the child was not able to visualize concept, a direct visual demo was required as the child could not apply the density with just basic perception. However when the child becomes grown up, it will need to understand and extend the concept to broader areas and will be able to derive the density of various substance on its own use the property of density in the relevant application.

The point am trying to suggest is that quick and hot fixes in the name of Agile, will impair the long term solution/product rather than strengthen it.  Here we need the help of theory and concepts. Addressing the root causes and systematically eliminating them will make the model more solid and ensure that product / service is evolving in consistent and effective manner. There are cases where the fix is taking so much effort and cost than the leaving the actual defect in the system, resulting in more CoPQ.  Looking at this way also predictive capabilities if remain the focus and applied in true manner, then will ensure meeting long term objectives of all customers.

Solid grounding on basic concepts will help, in the words of great Toyota way provide the customers with what they want when they want and in the amount they want.

Continual improvement – Inovative standardization

Disciplined engineering processes combined with Agile mindset and execution will be helpful if the organization is looking forward to long term project success. Statistical trends of metrics, resource productivity, behavioral aspects of teams cannot be understated. If the famous FIVE WHYS analysis is done on project deliveries as to find out causes and deep root causes of failures, considering parameters like delayed deliveries, percentage of rework, field defects etc, it will reveal the significant use of past analysis data and trends.

That’s why like ISO says stair case approach towards improvement will aid innovation. Its therefore termed as continual instead of continuous improvements. Many organizations felt the need to have innovation engine with solid standardization chassis

Unreasonable, helps innovation

Unreasonable customer is the reason that the organization runs. For if it were reasonable users, there expectation are known and follow logic, there will be a huge set of vendors who could offer normal products or services and its very hard out there to sustain in the long run.

A sustainable business can leverage and PULL the unreasoning from the customer and use those logic defying requirements to build futuristic products or services. The actions that the companies need to take for converting unrealistic requirements should be equally ‘unreasonable’ by putting all efforts to ensure word class products are built without compromise.

When Chester Carlson invented photocopier even bigger companies were not sure about the photocopiers market and use. The success is now very well known and it kind of revolutionized the way the business were conducted for more than three decades.

Twitter is another contemporary example of Superlative success of micro blogging giant with just 140 characters. When the current digital age is obsessed with High resolution GUIs, pictures, video based contents, this simple 140 characters text giant is making sweeping trend all over the world.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

— George Bernard Shaw

Happier stakeholders – Spirit of Agile

Mazhithalum neetalum venda ulagam

pazhithadhu ozhithu vidin

A great couplet from Tamil Sage Thiruvalluvar. Loosely it translates as neither sporting  a shaven head nor locks of hair tresses are required for those who abide by the codes and conduct of the world. Meaning, it is better to live in the spirit of worldly wisdom without physically pretending to be a sage.

A great relation can be deduced from agile for the above couplet meaning.

neither gold-plating nor abstaining(form processes) required

if user-world benefits from(products or services).

As in Lean, Agile also advocates quicker time boxed deliveries of working iterations with just necessary processes. gold plating of upstream activities like requirement, design and too much overheads will defeat the spirit of Agile .  Conversely, total avoidance of any planning, reviews and risk management will be sure road to debacle of products and services.

Just necessary process and sufficient tailoring will create products that will make all stake holders happier.

Right First Time (TQM) Vs Fail early (Agile)

As one who believes both in the solid principles of TQM as well as agility of Agile, wanted to share my perceptions about Right First Time, Every Time principle of TQM along side of fail early view Agile methodologies of software development

In order to get it right first time, there need to be lots of wrongs that should have happened early in the evolution of product development. This is true everywhere, be it in industry, theatre, art, paint  or sports, et all. Any aspiring champion will have to put in enormous effort to be aware, learn, practice and perfect his own endeavour. So may be the intent by saying Right First Time can be taken as applying the mindset to the current priorities, it may be practice, rehearsal or any work in progress to remain focused on the present. It will help them to achieve the ‘future Right’ whenever that will come.  Any activity be it product development, theatre play, music or sports will involve series of preparatory steps and each of the steps will be important to get the final desired outcome. Each of these steps individually has sub goals and those need to be ‘got right’. A step’s objective may also involve learning, as far as the learning is obtained  by the pursuer, she got it right. When all the individual steps got what they wanted as outcomes, end outcome is it Right, and indeed Right first time, because for that nth step, what has been achieved is first time event.

While Agile focussing on adaptability and quicker ROI for all stakeholders understands and is flexible in admitting that first 2/3 sprints there will be missed deliveries of few features. Also there might me lessons learnt from review and retrospective phase of sprints. These lessons learnt are indeed one of the sub goal of the sprint that meets the criteria ‘Right first time and every time’ too. Ultimately during the last sprint if all the lessons of the earlier sprints are effectively applied along the way Product delivered will be right first time. Individual sprints looked at the perspective of each sprint goal accomplished their objectives Right. As well they have contributed to ‘fail early’ part of Agile, due to the evolving nature of Product backlog and in the same time helped the overall Product Development Vision by solid lessons learnt practices.

True to ‘embracing the change’ nature of Agile, It will good to consider Right First Time and fail early as truly complimentary principles.

Agile TQM!

Compliance, Management and Excellence

Thinking from own experience, it is very interesting to compare and contrast Compliance, Management and Excellence in projects.

With millions of articles and deliberations around the world insisting that standardisation (Management) and Innovation (excellence) have to be two sides of the same coin, gated by compliance (standards and processes), here’s an attempt to understand the relative importance of Compliance, Management and Excellence in projects.

While Management takes major chunk of the project pie, other two factors Compliance and Excellence have their significant roles in ensuring an organisation’s overall current and future goals are met and tracked.  While Excellence and compliance are intended to be globally applied across the projects, locations and organisations, there are many challenges in implementing them in any organisation. This means that Management factor is given more focus and less focus is given to Compliance and excellence.

Does the survival and sustenance method looks like this?

Comply to just enough processes for just enough areas, Excel is in pockets of areas, and Manage most of the areas.

If that be so, it can be a good starting point to ensure synergy by moving away from compliance mindset to managing the projects effectively for maximum projects and functions and then improve by consistent innovations to scale up on excellence.

Even best of the big companies have been affected by compliance standards and few times fail to meet excellence levels that they have set forth.  However they manage to stay top by ensuring Management of projects effectively.

can there be a ratio of compliance, management and excellence model to be set across to different sizes of organisation?

Fellow professional, please share your thoughts